Chapter 21: Welcome to the Hellmouth
AN: All information regarding Buffy the Vampire Slayer can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buffy_the_vampire_slayer
Welcome to the Hellmouth
The plane landed at LAX at precisely 2 a.m., and by 2:30, the Scoobies, the Immortals, and SG-1 were on their way to Sunnydale, California.
During their dinner the night before, Buffy had told Jack about the beautiful town she lived in, so he knew what to expect, but when she had broached the subject with the General, he had admitted caution in telling the tale. Jack had of course wanted to tell the team, but both the General and Buffy had vetoed the idea. Buffy’s idea was that they wouldn’t believe that vampires exist without seeing one – even the General barely believed.
Buffy had noted that people only tend to believe in the supernatural when being attacked by it. And that was barely. Sometimes they rationalized themselves to death. So Buffy came up with a little idea to drive to a cemetery and stake herself a vampire, then she could get all the explanation out of the way. She knew that Jack trusted his team, and because of that, she wanted to trust them too. But she had to admit, what if her plan didn’t go the way she planned. She didn’t have a lot of opportunity to tell Giles that she and Jack had a plan, so she was just doing it on the fly, but she wondered what he would think. She still couldn’t get over the idea of Giles and the Major. They are so different. She frowned. She didn’t know how she felt about the two of them. Part of her was glad that he had found someone after the death of Ms. Calendar, but Samantha Carter? They were as different as night and day; plus she wasn’t sure she even liked her. Yet, it wasn’t her business, right? But she would make it her business if Sam hurt him.
So it was a caravan of cars loaded with people and weapons that entered the Sunnydale cemetery that early morning.
“Faith probably did a sweep here already,” Buffy murmured to Jack as she got out of the car.
“Buffy, what are we doing here?” Giles asked with a frown as he exited his vehicle.
“Yeah, Buff,” said Xander. “I know you live for these meetings,” he said gesturing around the empty graveyard, “but I’m kinda tired – I could crash.”
“Is this a cemetery?” asked Daniel, peering around the shrouded place.
“Yes,” Buffy said. “I brought…”
“Is that a Progonian cross?” Daniel interrupted excitedly, rushing towards a grave. “It seems like it’s dated in 1867.”
Buffy could only glance at Jack with a bemused frown.
“He likes old things,” Jack said with a shrug. “Daniel, get back here,” he ordered.
Shrugging, Daniel scampered back like an eager puppy.
Buffy shook her head and sighed. “What I was saying was that I brought you here to show you all something.”
“Buffy?” said Giles warningly, having figured out what she was up to.
“They need to know,” she said, her voice firm.
“What’s so special about a cemetery?” Major Carter demanded, baffled. She looked around the foggy place and shivered. If she didn’t know better, she would have said someone was walking on her grave.
Buffy closed her eyes and opened her senses and sent power through the cemetery until she found the one she wanted. She then walked inherently to the fresh grave of Mr. Phillip Chandler, born in 1985 and died two days ago. He was buried earlier that day and was survived by his mother and two sisters; his father had died three years ago.
The gravestone was made out of granite and a bouquet of fresh flowers lay forlorn at the base of the grave.
“What do you want to show us?” asked Daniel curiously, looking around the shrouded cemetery. He didn’t like cemeteries except for an intrinsic value in history. “This is an interesting place, and it probably has a lot of history, but can’t it wait for morning?”
“It’s morning,” Teal’c noted, glancing at his digital watch.
Daniel gave him a speaking glance. “I meant, when it is light out.”
“What I’m about to show you needed to happen tonight,” Buffy murmured, moving to stand next to the grave. She glanced down at the name etched in the granite. “This is the grave of Mr. Phillip Chandler,” she said.
“I’m sorry Buffy, was he important to you?” Daniel said apologetically.
“No, I’ve never met Mr. Chandler in my life,” she said.
“If you’ve never met, then what are we doing here?” said Carter; her voice held a challenge as she rubbed her hands up and down her arms in an effort to get warm.
Giles walked up and put his arms around her.
Jack noticed and gave them a frown.
“You will see,” Buffy insisted archly.
“See what?” Carter demanded, looking around with a bemused frown.
“Watch!” Buffy said urgently.
A hand came slowly out of the freshly-filled grave and clawed for solid ground, but no one seemed to notice with the exception of Buffy, Jack, and Giles, who were focused on the fresh grave.
Phillip Chandler soon pushed himself out of his grave, growling when his head cleared the earth, and continued to climb out, crawling onto his stomach.
“What’s that!?” Joe Dawson said, his voice rising an octave, pointing to the corpse.
Phillip continued crawling along the ground pulling out his legs, but stopped when he saw a pair of widespread legs standing before him. He looked up to see who it was.
It was Buffy; she stood gazing down at him in amusement. “Come on,” she gestured. She backed away, making way for Phillip to finish his climb out of his grave.
“Is-is that a man climbing out of a grave?” asked Carter, her eyes widened in disbelief.
“What’s wrong with his face?” asked Joe, his body stiff with shock.
“That’s a vampire, Joe,” said Adam dryly.
Daniel could only stare tongue-tied.
“Hello there!” Phillip said with a surprised look as he catches sight of the group. “You might be wondering what I’m doing,” he said, dusting himself off.
Buffy snorted in amusement, and without her usual playful banter, she drew a stake from her waist and stabbed Phillip Chandler in the chest.
With a shocked look on his face, he turned to dust.
“What was that?!” yelled Daniel, finally coming out of his shock.
“Welcome to Sunnydale,” Buffy said dryly with an encompassing gesture.
“That, Danny old friend, was a vampire,” Jack said, his mouth quirked in a sardonic twist.
“Vampires? Vampires don’t exist,” said Carter; her mind was spinning with bewilderment.
“Well, someone forgot to tell them,” Buffy said wryly as she meandered around the graves.
“Wha-What did you do to him?” asked Daniel.
Instead of answering, she turned the question around. “What do you think I did?”
“I don’t know,” said Daniel, “that is why I’m asking.”
Buffy took a deep breath. “There are a few things you guys need to know about Sunnydale,” she said eying them surreptitiously.
“What?” Carter asked, her eyes narrowed on Buffy with suspicion. Her heart was fluttering madly in her chest. That cannot be a vampire
, she thought. That was some sort of trick. They don’t exist, do they?
she wondered with a frown.
“Buffy O’Neill, is it about the vampire that crawled out the grave?” said Teal’c.
“Yes, Teal’c,” said Buffy.
“Vampires don’t exist,” said Carter, her voice strained.
Buffy sighed. “What you just saw was a vampire. It was no illusion or some sort of a trick. I have been with all of you since we landed. I didn’t have time to set anything up,” she said. “Ask Giles,” she said softly. “Ask the Immortals or ask both Willow and Xander, who have lived in this town since they were born.”
“Yes,” Xander acknowledged. “I have lived in this town all of my life, but I didn’t know vampires existed until a fateful day when my best friend, Jesse, was turned into one,” he said bleakly.
She walked a few feet away, then paused and walked back to the headstone. “I had debated how to tell you this,” Buffy said. “Because anyone that visits Sunnydale really must be told and be wary about what’s going on here.” She turned towards Major Carter. “General Hammond told me you had us investigated, so you must know about the unusual death rate in this town.”
Giles gave Carter a sharp glance.
She noticed with a shrug. “It’s my job,” she said, giving him a pleading look. “Yes,” she said to Buffy. “I had found it interesting that there were so many unusual deaths; I even mentioned that fact to General Hammond.”
Buffy nodded. “It is because Sunnydale is built on a Hellmouth.”
“H-hellmouth?” stammered Daniel shaken. Vampires
, he thought, with a slight shiver. His mind not connecting to what he had seen. ”What’s that?”
“Hellmouths are places of increased supernatural energy,” Buffy said matter-of-factly. “It is an area in which the barriers between dimensions are weak. The Hellmouth is a focal point which serves as a portal between earth and the underworld. For these reasons, the Hellmouth attracts demons and other supernatural creatures, becoming a "hot spot"
for supernatural activity. The Hellmouth actually sits underneath the library of Sunnydale High School. And my job is to protect Sunnydale.”
“What?!” said Daniel, his mouth dropping open.
“Why you?” Carter asked. There was an edge to her voice as she looked at the young woman standing in front of her.
“I’m the Slayer,” Buffy said simply.
“What?” Daniel said, staggering back. He could only stare at Buffy in astonishment. He turned to glare at Jack, remembering how he had asked him about the terminology he had heard before and how Jack and shut him down.
Jack held up a hand placatingly.
“A Vampire Slayer,” Buffy said looking enigmatically.
“What is a Slayer, Buffy O’Neill?” asked Teal’c with a bemused frown. He also had heard the term before, but he wasn’t quite sure where.
“The Slayer is a young female bestowed with mystical powers that originate from the heart of a pure demon, which gives her superhuman senses, strength, speed, endurance, agility, healing, and stamina in the fight against forces of darkness. She also receives prophetic dreams in the few hours that she sleeps,” Buffy said; her voice had drifted to a hushed whisper. The night’s silence grew as everyone pitched forward to listen. “In every generation, there is a Chosen One. She alone will stand against the vampires, the demons, and the forces of darkness. She is the Slayer,”
Giles said softly.
“The Slayer is a hunter of monsters, demons, the undead in general and vampires in particular. She is a lone soldier in a long, brutal, and terrifying war.”
Everyone turned to look at Buffy in disbelief.
Still speaking softly, Buffy said, “Willow, remember that you had asked if I was the First Slayer?”
“I’m not, but there is a legend. It’s in one of those books I had hidden,” she said in an aside to Giles. “Before I came to Sunnydale, the Slayer was always alone. They would fight the good fight knowing that each night could be their last.”
Suddenly the night stilled. There wasn’t any breeze and the shadows seemed to lighten. As Buffy stood next to the empty grave, she seemed to glow. “Legend speaks of large pure demons known as ‘The Old Ones’
who walked the Earth. Some of these monstrosities were as tall as skyscrapers and were ferociously powerful. Around the time that mortal animals evolved, the Old Ones left; they found more hospitable dimensions and left the Earth. Others were driven out by mages and Loranites. The Old Ones did not completely leave this world; so powerful were these beings that they could survive after death – their bodies were entombed in the Deeper Well, waiting for the time when they could rise again. Beyond their entombed essences, they left behind other vestiges such as magic, their servitors, and sometimes, their descendants. The last Old One to leave was a creature that fed off the blood of humans. By mixing its blood with that of humans, a new demonic breed was born: vampires.”
“Vampires, though not the strongest of the half-breed progeny or other servitors, spread far quicker than possibly any other half-breed or pure-breed demon and lost none of their potency. The head elders of several early villages decided to take action: to create a power to stop the creatures from spreading. They took the power, essence, and might of a demon and channeled it into a young girl, who was chained to the earth so she could not escape. The girl had no choice. This became her sacred duty and responsibility, for only she had the power to stand against the forces of darkness. She became the first Vampire Slayer. However, being only slightly superior to Vampires and other half-breeds, the Slayer's life was often brutal and short-lived. The Shadowmen, as they were called, whose descendants went on to become the Watchers, had foreseen this and imbued this power with a hidden clause to guarantee that it would live on. Like the First Slayer, there were hundreds of girls in each generation that had the potential to carry this power within their bodies. When the First Slayer died in battle, the power was transferred to one of the potential girls. Over the course of millennia, in each generation, there was always one girl, in all of the world, who had the power, and when she died, another was called, and another, and another…”
“Are you telling me that you are this mystical slayer? Some type of super soldier,” Carter said, her voice rising in surprise.
“I am no longer the Slayer, but a Slayer,” Buffy admitted.
“What is the difference?” Daniel demand.
Buffy shrugged. They are handling this better than she expected. But looking at them, she surmised that she only had to convince Carter and Daniel. Being an alien himself, Teal’c probably has a better handle on this. “There really isn’t a bit of difference. The only thing is that the Slayer line doesn’t go through me, it goes through Faith.”
“Faith?” he asked.
“You will meet her soon,” Buffy said.
“There can be just one Slayer alive in the world at any given time,” said Giles. “Buffy is an anomaly. A new Slayer is only ‘called’
when her dormant abilities are made manifest by the old slayer’s death. When Buffy was killed, the power transferred to Kendra, another Slayer, though when Buffy was resuscitated by Xander, she too retained in full the various Slayer powers. And when Kendra was later killed, the power then passed to Faith.”
“Mr. Giles?” asked Daniel. “You know so much about this Slayer business. What is your job in all this? I take it you are not hearing this for the first time.”
“No, I am not,” he admitted. “My official job title is a Watcher, which is completely different from Mr. Dawson’s description of his job. Mr. Dawson’s job is to observe, never taking part in the Immortals’ lives. I have worked for an organization called the Watcher’s Council; this is the governing body of the Watchers. They pay Watchers to train the Slayer, and they train Watchers, who keep diaries on their Slayers. They also research vampires, demons, magicks, and any obscure texts. The Council also tries to locate potential Slayers and then send Watchers to inform and train them. The Watcher’s Council maintains operatives throughout the world in their fight against vampires and demons.”
“How come we have never heard of this Watcher’s Council?” Carter asked with a frown.
“Does General Hammond know about this?” she asked.
“Yes,” said Buffy. “He knew that you had to be told, and he allowed me to do it my way,” she admitted with a sheepish grin.
“So vampires really exist,” Carter muttered uneasily, but in her mind, she was searching for a plausible explanation.
“Yes,” said Jack, eying her thoughtfully. “Why are you having such a big problem with the idea of vampires,” he asked with a surprised air, “when you work with aliens every day?”
“I don’t know,” she said with a puzzled frown. “It’s like hearing that Santa Claus is real.”
“Well,” Buffy drawled, with a mischievous light in her eyes.
Carter’s eyes rolled back in her head, and she slipped to the earthen floor.